The Salvation Hunters

 USA 1925
Drama, Independent 76 min.
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Absurd kollidierende Schicksale in den Niederungen einer Hafenstadt.

Josef von Sternbergs unabhängig entstandenes Debüt trug ihm sofort den Ruf eines Ausnahmetalents ein: Drei Heimatlose - Mann, Frau, Kind - fliehen vom Baggerschiff in die Lehmhütten der Küstenregion und geraten an einen brutalen Zuhälter. Von Sternberg drehte mit geringstem Budget vor Ort, aber die Inszenierung der Verhältnisse zeigt dennoch seinen Stilwillen: In der strikt allegorischen Erzählung, in der Malerei mit Licht, Schatten und Ornamenten, sowie in verblüffenden Einschüben, wie etwa einer unglaublichen Traumsequenz. Christoph Huber This low-budget production, Josef von Sternberg's first directoral effort, earned praises from Charles Chaplin and was released by United Artists. was a highly unusual film for its era. Its moody cinematography, symbolism, and purposely ugly backgrounds just did not exist in other films, except for Erich von Stroheim's . This wasn't a film that audiences of the 1920s found appealing, and nowadays, when von Sternberg's once innovative techniques have become integrated into modern filmmaking, it seems heavy-handed. The story focuses on a boy (George K. Arthur), who is a failure and a coward; a girl (Georgia Hale), who is used to the rough life on the riverfront; and a child (Bruce Guerin), whose parents have been killed by the dredge on which the girl lives. In order to «get away from the mud,» the boy convinces the girl to take the child and accompany him to the city. There they meet up with the brute (Olaf Hytten), who offers them shelter only because he fancies the girl. The brute takes them out to the country, where he begins to abuse the boy, who finally drops his cowardice and overcomes him in a fight. The girl, who was disgusted by the boy's weakness, is now thrilled with his valor, and they look to the future with new hope. Janiss Garza

(Text: Viennale 2008)

Details

George K. Arthur, Georgia Hale, Bruce Guerin, Otto Matiesen, Nellie Bly Baker, Olaf Hytten, Stuart Holmes
Josef von Sternberg
Edward Gheller
Josef von Sternberg

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